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Enterprising Women Case Study - Dawn Brown

Founder of Dogland, trading as Rose Cottage Doggy Day Care, Chesterfield

Case Study

What is your business and your role within it?

At DogLand, we are very similar to Legoland, Flamingo Land and Disneyland in that we provide a unique holiday experience – but for dogs!

There is no howling and barking in kennels, as we have a 5.5-acre secure site that features different spaces to suit every dog’s physical, emotional and social needs. We mix them in small manageable packs to ensure they have the best time while with us, and if they are staying overnight, their luxury kennels feature heating, air conditioning, TVs and sofas.

My role is to oversee a team of eight, including two managers, and build our franchise model. I have just qualified to teach people how to do what we do and stay compliant with council regulations, which are forever changing.

What challenges have you faced since founding your business and how did you overcome them?

There’s been so many, I should write a book! Hence why I want to teach people, so they don’t make mistakes I made in the early days. For example, not realising I was over the VAT threshold and then having to repay £27,000 – a lesson learned and now I have three accounts for my business.

Like the rest of the world, we also had the challenge of the pandemic, although we took out positives from all the doom and gloom by creating new services to help solve the problems people were facing. The absolute gamechanger for us was introducing a “field of freedom”, an idea I had while laid in a hospital bed after having an emergency C-section with my now three-year-old Hope.

The field enabled handless handover, allowing us to stay open to provide day care service to our frontline workers while adhering to Government guidelines. We rented it out by the hour so people could let their dogs off the lead safe in the knowledge they would not be anywhere near any other people or dogs. We also created an online shop for all doggy needs like treats, beds and toys, and after weathering the storm, we are coming back stronger than ever.

When were you introduced to Enterprising Women and how did it feel to win an award?

After joining the Chamber, I quickly became involved in Enterprising Women. It inspires me to make a stand for women in business and has grown my self-confidence.

Winning this award was so emotional. My team and the business have won awards nationally and locally, but for me this award really was personal as acknowledgment for the rollercoaster ride I had been on – and still am on – to build and scale up the company.

Running a business is bloody hard work, and emotionally and physically draining sometimes, so winning such a prestigious award was mind-blowing. I’m so grateful.

Why are networks like Enterprising Women so important?

To get women heard! We are super, and we need the support and confidence that networks like this offer. Being a woman is hard work, and we all need to support and help each other.